Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) President Constantin Buica stated on Wednesday that the AEP will finalise its audit into the PSD’s financing by November, adding that, so far, the institution’s audit department has no documents pointing to “problems.”
“At this moment, at the level of the department, there is no document showing that an audit was carried out and problems were noted. Until there is a document through which the audit department proposes that the AEP President should take measures and order certain notifications regarding the infringement of legal directives, I cannot order any measure and I cannot note that these directives were infringed upon. The prosecutor’s office and the relevant bodies can carry out audits simultaneously. We have put at disposal documents that we had regarding the start, suspension, and carrying out of that audit. We will finalise the audit as planned by the Court of Accounts too, in August-November this year,” Constantin Buica stated in a press conference on Wednesday.
He pointed out that the audit into the PSD’s financing will resume on August 26, alongside the Court of Accounts.
“When I took over as AEP President, there was a dossier at the Public Ministry and subsequently at the DNA. As president, I took note of the documents presented in December 2018 – January 2019. I noted that the AEP President had suspended, that there are no grounds to suspend this audit, but to extend the audit until it is continued along with the Court of Accounts. The audit is carried out simultaneously by the AEP and the Court of Accounts into the state budget subsidies. We have analysed the documents sent to the AEP from that dossier; in my opinion and in the opinion of specialists, it was legal for the AEP President to order the audit extended and continued with the Court of Accounts. In January, there was a PSD complaint that the audit was allegedly taking place illegally and should be carried out with the Court of Accounts. The Court’s response came subsequently; on its basis and at the proposal of the department for the auditing of party financing, the AEP President notified the PSD and ordered that the audit be suspended and resumed on August 26 alongside the Court of Accounts. All demarches to suspend these audits came at the proposal of the department for auditing,” Buica explained.
On Wednesday morning, former Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) President Daniel Barbu showed up at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) headquarters to take part in investigative hearings in the dossier that concerns PSD Treasurer Mircea Draghici, whom prosecutors have accused of several counts of embezzlement.
On his way out, Barbu stated that triggering audits within the institution was not among his prerogatives, pointing out nevertheless that every political party spends the funds as it sees fit, according to the legal provisions.
“The law says how the money is spent. Precisely. I suppose they (the DNA – editor’s note) can act on their own initiative in any field, I don’t know whether they shouldn’t have done so in this field. Each party spends the money as they see fit, in line with the legal provisions. Carrying out an audit was not among my prerogatives, there was an autonomous department, so I personally, until there is a report from the audit department, on the AEP line, probably, a DNA analysis. I have seen that Mr Draghici says that they are legal, others are saying that they are illegal, I cannot say. It wasn’t my prerogative back then, now even less so. I’m not afraid to talk about anything, provided I speak with conviction or about something I know. In this field, I do not know,” Daniel Barbu stated when leaving the DNA.
On 18 February 2019, Standing Electoral Authority President Daniel Barbu resigned in order to run in the European Parliament elections, on ALDE’s list.
On Monday, National Anticorruption Directorate prosecutors extended the criminal probe against PSD Treasurer Mircea Draghici, introducing a new embezzlement count. DNA prosecutors accuse Draghici of removing from the party’s assets a Mercedes Benz auto vehicle worth RON 324,800, without collecting its equivalent value.
“Concretely, on 10.07.2017, the political party, through its treasurer, bought the aforementioned auto vehicle. On 18.07.2017, the auto vehicle was sold to a member of the treasurer’s family, however its equivalent value was not collected by the party on the date of the sale. The money was paid only on 23.08.2018,” the DNA prosecutors point out in a press release.
DNA prosecutors indicted the PSD Treasurer on April 2, for taking EUR 380,000 from the subsidies given to the PSD, money he allegedly used to buy a house. He is accused of taking money from the party’s subsidies by concluding a rental contract.
In response, Mircea Draghici said he does not understand the embezzlement crime that the DNA accuses him of in what concerns the purchase of the Mercedes auto vehicle, stating that the car was paid by the PSD from private funds, not from the subsidies. The PSD Treasurer added that he never owned the house located in Pipera.
Former Standing Electoral Authority President Daniel Barbu, criminally probed by DNA for “failing to oversee, in line with the law, that the destination of the subsidies was observed”
Former Standing Electoral Authority President Daniel Barbu is being criminally probed by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for “failing to oversee, in line with the law, that the destination of the subsidies was observed,” in the case in which PSD Treasurer Mircea Draghici is being probed for embezzlement and using subsidies for purposes other than the ones for which they were given.
The DNA announced on Wednesday, in a press release, that anti-corruption prosecutors have ordered the start of a criminal probe against former AEP President Daniel Barbu, “as regards the perpetration of the crime of failing to oversee, in line with the law, that the destination of the subsidies was observed.”
According to prosecutors, from 27 May 2017 to 27 February 2019, in his capacity as President of the Standing Electoral Authority, Barbu “did not oversee, in line with the law, the destination of the subsidies offered to political parties.”
Daniel Barbu is accused of “not ordering, in line with the law on the financing of political parties (Article 44 of Law no.334/2006, republished), annual audits for each party, into their observance of the legal provisions concerning revenues (including those from public funds, subsidies), and allegedly stopped certain audits that were ongoing.”
“Concretely, through an address dated 22.01.2019, as a result of a letter that the treasurer of a party sent to the Standing Electoral Authority, in his capacity as AEP President, the suspect allegedly ordered, in a discretionary manner, that all audits ordered by the director of the relevant AEP structure be stopped, audits that concerned that political party. The provisions of Law no.334/2006 on the financing of the activity of political parties and of elections campaigns include no legal provision that would allow the stopping of an audit ordered by the director of the relevant AEP structure,” the DNA informs.
The mentioned source points out that even though he was informed by AEP employees about “certain irregularities concerning the use of the subsidies,” Barbu “disagreed with the request of one of his employees for the audits that were suspended on his orders to resume, preferring instead to resign from the office of AEP President on 27.02.2019.”
“On 24 April 2019, the person was informed of their capacity as suspect, in line with the provisions of Article 307 of the Criminal Procedure Code. We hereby point out that the criminal probe is a stage of the criminal trial, regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code, its goal being to create the framework for administering the evidence, an activity that can in no circumstances defeat the principle of presumption of innocence,” the DNA informs.